The power of introverts

4 Apr

I listened to an interesting talk about the power of introverts by Susan Cain. Being a semi-introvert myself, I immediately felt attracted to the title, ah!

The speaker pointed out that there are as many introverts as there are extraverts (in fact it seems to be 75% extraverts for 25% introverts) but that our modern world is geared towards extraverts. Extraverts are more likely to be seen, heard, noticed and affirmed. Our workplaces and our schools are now designed to fit the extravert person: Open plan workplace, desks set up in group, and team work are imposed on both the extraverts and the introverts. While it suits the extravert’s personality and way of thinking, it is a disadvantage for the introvert. The speaker makes the point that introverts work best in their moments of solitude when they can quietly reflect and think through what they need to. I can certainly relate to that.

I found her talk quite interesting for several reasons.

While I never felt that there was something wrong in me for being an introvert, reading up on that topic showed me than some people really struggle with some of their personality traits related to introversion. I’m not saying that I love everything about my personality (my husband can testify otherwise with his many many many ‘pick-me up talks when he find his wife in her very sorry-to-be-me state) but I never thought that being an introvert was some kind of disorder!

I like that she explained that an introvert is not necessarily a shy or reserved person but rather a person who works best on his own, doing most of his thinking process in his own head, rather than in a group context. I personally don’t enjoy doing team work for the simple reason that it is usually the loud and quick one in the group that ends up throwing all his ideas first. It is not a true reflection of everyone’s input and thought process.

I like that, without discarding the qualities of the extravert, she shows the different strengths of the introvert. Even though nowadays the world seeks, values and praises the one that is out there, the go getter,  such as the flashy and loud leader, the speaker also unpacks the value of the strong quiet(er) leader. Maybe a leader that is better able to listen to other people’s ideas.

Finally I like that she gives me an insight on people like me – and by “people like me”, I mean “me”. In some strange way, it helps me find contentment in the gifts that God has given me. It is about the lifelong struggle of not wanting to be different, wishing to be more like this or less like that (and I’m not talking about body fat or hair texture!). Using the qualities that have been given to me in a way that brings glory to God without grumbling about the qualities that I wish I had.

Here are some of the things that I appreciate in being an introvert: I usually don’t speak impulsively and it saves me from uttering total rubbish and feeling like a blushing shrimp. I can stay long hours in the only company of a book and I’m happy to have a hand full of close meaningful friends.

Some of the thing that I would change, if I could, would include the boldness to speak up in a group without feeling that the whole world is looking at me, the know-how of showing my emotions more clearly (it helps people to know whether you’re shy, grumpy, asocial or just tired) and the ability to stop thinking things over and over and over and over.

So how do you feel being an introvert?


3 Responses to “The power of introverts”

  1. themastersbard April 5, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Being an ‘extrovert’, I am deeply attracted to ‘introverts’ and treasure them. ESPECIALLY someone like you, Ingrid, who brims with so much inner life.

    There are insecure introverts who are withdrawn, unassertive & self-conscious (but you, dear I, appear to be a secure introvert – balanced.) May God heal any insecurities and bring you into full rich colour.

    And I am practicing to be more reflective, less impulsive, meditative, quiet-minded.

    Oh hearts, give praise to the glorious and wise One who heals us and brings us to balance!

  2. Caren April 5, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Dear Ingrid.

    I love this post for many reasons but primarily because it shows that God is at work in you. It is so exciting to witness you becoming more comfortable with who God has made you to be ( in a good way) and even sharing that with us. Thank you. I love that about God and we love you Ingrid.

    Kerry thanks for your comment too. it is very exciting to see how people grow in accepting of each other as we are in the right kind of way and seek to build each other up and love each other. Thanks.

  3. craigandkerry April 5, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    My dear friend… It is so funny to hear that you need “pick me up” talks from your husband relating to you being an introvert. It’s funny how we all have our insecurities. Sounds like this talk helped you a lot. I’m glad to hear it.

    Have a read of the book “Trellis and the vine” by Tony Payne and Colin Marshall. Our ministry can be done in large crowds but often the most powerful ministry is done one to one adn has very deep lasting impact on the church. So there a very powerful place for introverts too. And the funnite thing is that you’d fit right in at Bull creek. It’s a whole church of introverts! The extroverts in leadership are few and far between! Someone mentioned this to us this year and it was like a light turned on for me. In fact at the Synod, One of the elders in another church in our denom said, ” Most pastors are introverts!” Clearly that is not true, but that’s his experience of thsi denomination. Very interesting.

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